The Medical Marijuana Journey is an Exploration in Self-Healing

2/6/2019
P.A. Murphy
Medical Marijuana journey is an exploration in self healing

THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, is one of many medicinal components in medicinal marijuana. For years, it was the only component most people knew or cared about. But over the past few decades, since laws have been passed allowing for people to access and study medicinal cannabis, more and more information has been uncovered about the full spectrum of medicinal components in the plant. Beyond the many cannabinoids in cannabis besides THC, terpenes profiles were also discovered, which work in conjunction with the cannabinoids giving cannabis its ability to produce such a wide variety of effects among its various strains. That's why there are people who can find relief for their particular medical condition with CBD products alone (which have little to no THC content), while others may only find relief from their symptoms with products that contain extremely high levels of THC, and then there are the rest of the people using medical marijuana who fall somewhere between the two. With cannabis, it isn't a "one is right and so the other must be wrong" thing. Like with diet and exercise, it's a personal need and preference situation. What works is what's best, and whatever doesn't work should be avoided. That's going to be different from person to person.

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Industry as a whole needs to work harder at taking all of these other medicinal components of medical marijuana into consideration in their marketing, sales, and testing. Patients, even those who may think they already know enough, need to further educate themselves on all the medicinal components cannabis offers. The reason to learn more is that there are conditions which can be exasperated by certain cannabis strains or products, but the very same conditions can be alleviated if treated with a totally different type of cannabis product or strain. Having the knowledge to know which strain will do what is the difference between healing and "Still Not Helping".

Take me and my adult son for a couple of examples. Really high THC indicas or heavy indica leaning strains of medical marijuana are not very good for me unless I'm in excruciating pain, need to stop hurting ASAP so I can eat and/or sleep, and I've got literally no plans other than eating and/or sleeping for the rest of the day. In fact, for the most part I avoid most indicas altogether unless I'm in pain or having issues eating and/or sleeping because they tend to bring on depressive episodes for me. Typically I'm going to gravitate towards the sativas, somewhere in the middle of the THC level range, which have terpene profiles that give them citrusy, earthy aromas. I gravitate towards these because I've found, through mostly personal experience and very careful journaling, they are what work best for me at keeping my condition manageable, while still allowing me to live a productive life. My son, on the other hand, isn't a big fan of the sativas. They make his head ache and have him feeling all kinds of fidgety. He prefers indicas or indica leaning hybrids that have terpene profiles with more green tea or floral aromas. He tends to choose strains with lower levels of THC or even a strain with equal CBD levels to THC levels, unless he is dealing with extreme pain. During times when his pain seems unbearable, he will go for a straight indica with heavier THC levels. They never seem to give him the bothersome depressive episodes they give me, but then again, sativas don't give me headaches or make me fidgety. Our different biology's and conditions make our cannabis needs different.

Thankfully cannabis is a plant whose diversity can make it exceptionally versatile if used properly. Being able to use it properly is dependent on patients fully educating themselves on all the medicinally beneficial component parts, and also, on the medical marijuana industry providing testing for and listing these component parts. The first part is pretty easy for anyone to do on the internet, just put cannabinoids or terpenes in the search bar of any search engine and off you go. The second part might end up being difficult, especially with testing of any sort still being voluntary for anything other than edible medical marijuana products. Here, there are really only two things patients can do: 1) keep asking and/or demanding full spectrum testing until the industry gets on board voluntarily, or 2) start making noise on the political level to get mandatory testing and labeling legislation for all medical marijuana products. Both options have plenty of cons and far fewer pros; so like I said, it might end up being difficult.

Right now, the medical marijuana journey is an exploration in self-healing. Most of the research and experimentation is on an individual basis, results will vary as such. The onus is on the patient to educate themselves and advocate for their own health and wellbeing. So, be dutiful and studious in researching medicinal cannabis. Keep notes on what effects the various strains have on each particular condition, and any incidental information like smells or tastes from the strains you find which give the most relief with the fewest negative side effects. These things go a long way in helping patients get the type of medicinal cannabis they need more consistently.

And that's where I'll cut myself off this week. Once again, I hope I've provided you with something helpful and informative. Next week I'll be back with some of the more technical things I've learned about cannabinoids and terpenes (get to finally try my hand at making some infographics). Until then, keep it Okie Tokie my friends.

-P.A. Murphy

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